The latest rumor about
Alabama RB Mark Ingram, and the timing of it, is interesting and typical.
As many of you know, Ingram
had arthroscopic surgery on his knee right before the start of last season.
Even though he returned last September to rush for 875 yards and 13 TDs, his
production was almost half of what he produced the season before. Now teams are
supposedly worried about the stability of the knee and are downgrading him on
their draft boards.
“I’ve had two
teams tell me the knee is very bad,” NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi reportedly
said. “He won’t be on their boards. These are teams that need running backs.”
Teams like the Miami
The reason I
find this alleged report interesting is because we are in the height of the
season…the lying season, that is. Everything that is reported can or should be
considered with skepticism, including the timing.
What does all
of this mean to the Dolphins?
If the draft gurus
are right and Ingram is destined for South Florida,
these rumors serve to potentially discourage other suitors from drafting Ingram
earlier than the Dolphins can.
If the gurus
are wrong about the Dolphins’ interest in Ingram, then the rumors could
discourage potential draft partners from doing a deal with the Dolphins for the
15th pick if their intention is to draft Ingram later.
If the rumors
are true, which they very well could be, then it is of no consequence to the
Dolphins as their true interest probably lies elsewhere.
As I’ve stated previously,
I find it hard to believe that the Dolphins would draft Ingram because it would
all but assure them of sticking with QB Chad Henne for another season as the lone
QB of the future. I just don’t see how this can happen, not after the tremendous
fallout from last season that brought us within a whisker of a major coaching
To me, one of five
scenarios is in play:
1) Trade up to
draft a QB
2) Stay at 15
and draft a QB.
3) Stay at 15
and draft the highest graded player available.
4) Trade down,
recoup a second round pick, and draft a QB.
5) Trade down,
recoup a second round pick, and draft the best player available.
Ireland’s draft philosophy is with scenario #3. After the disappointment of
last year’s draft results (scenario #5), passing on a host of talented players
(including two Pro Bowlers) in trading down for DE Jared Odrick, I think the
safe bet is that Ireland will return to his normal philosophy (#3).
the Dolphins have needs that can be well met by staying put.
But can Ireland afford
to play it safe after what happened last year? Can he really afford to trust
Henne as the sole heir apparent? There isn’t a potential free agent QB that can
assume that mantle. And Kevin Kolb isn’t that guy. Neither is Carson Palmer.
While it is
tough for a rookie QB to earn a starting job, it’s the future hope and
potential that such a player brings to the mix that the Dolphins most sorely
lack right now. And there are only a handful of guys in this draft that have
that sort of potential. They all figure to be gone by the end of the second
The Dolphins do
not have a second round pick and the lockout may prevent Ireland from
using current players in a trade up the draft board (scenario #1). This leaves
him in a very difficult position if he intends to solve his QB problem this
year. Here’s why:
1) The two best
QB prospects (Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert) will likely be gone before the
Dolphins go on the clock.
2) Their pick
among next tier of QBs (Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker, Colin Kaepernick, and
Christian Ponder) are probably a reach at 15. Yet QBs command a premium that
other players do not.
3) Trading down
would net the Dolphins badly needed picks, but might cause the them to miss out
on their man if they misread the intentions of other potential suitors
In all of this
confusion, two things are absolutely certain:
1) If Ireland has a
conviction about a second tier QB, he can get that player by staying put at 15
(scenario #2). It would be a reach, but he would have his man.
2) Playing it
safe at the QB position hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. Safe will
probably get the current regime fired and leave the Dolphins rudderless at the
most important of positions.
So it all comes
down to Ireland’s
determination to fix the QB problem this year. If he’s highly motivated to
avoid a repeat of last season and create hope for the future, and if the
lockout is still in effect, I believe he’ll take a chance and draft his QB at
15 (scenario #2)
Just two weeks
left to the start of the NFL Draft and, perhaps, a fresh new hope for the